Friday, July 18, 2014

recommended gigs

Friday July 18 - the Psyatics at the Double Down
Friday July 18 - the Loud Pipes at the Triple B with Planes Mistaken for Stars, All Eyes West, Illicitor, Mercy Music and Fredward

Saturday July 19 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down

Wednesday July 23 - Crazy Chief at the Griffin

Saturday July 26 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Rock Cafe

Monday July 28 - the Pine Hill Haints with the All Togethers, Swank Bastards, Bombon, My First Rodeo and the Unwieldies at the Hard Hat Lounge

Tuesday July 29 - Beau Hodges Band at Brooklyn Bowl with Dusty Sunshine and Kalsey Kulyk

Wednesday July 30 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday August 2 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with garage legends the Sloths

Thursday August 7 - the Boss Martians, Nu Waves and Surf Coasters at the Double Down

Friday August 8 - the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday August 9 - The Unweildies at the Dillinger

Thursday August 14 - the Sonics at the Hard Rock on Las Vegas

Friday August 15 - Deep Purple at Fremont Street Experience 3rd St Stage 9:00pm

Sunday August 17 - the Loud Pipes and Zig Zags at the Dive Bar

Friday August 29 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Hat Lounge

Friday Sept 5 - Double Down Radio's 6th Anniversary Bash with Sheep On a Cliff, the Bitters, Fuzz Solow and the Pluralses

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

son of a bitch...


Johnny Winter, Virtuosic Blues Guitarist, Dies at 70
 ---
He didn't seem well at all when I saw him a couple years ago, but goddam, another one gone...
He was a true great - very sad to see him go...

Friday, July 11, 2014

goddammit - RIP Tommy

Report: R.I.P. Tommy Ramone (1952-2014), the last living original member of the Ramones 
---
They literally changed the world and all died far too young.
I was lucky enough to see them several times with Tommy - still my favorite line-up.
A truly sad day...


BTW - FUCK CANCER!!!!

The Crumbs - "The Crumbs"

The Crumbs were (or maybe still are - I see online there was a 2010 release) a 90's punk rock band from Florida who released a few sporadic records, including this slab for Lookout! Their 70's styled punk rock is highly reminiscent of bands like the Saints (the singer especially reminds me of Chris Bailey), with hints of the Ramones and the Dead Boys (there's a shout-out to Cheetah at one point, unless my ears deceive me, and since I just realized the song is called "dead boys too", I would wager I am correct).

Straight-ahead punk rock with strong playing, cool, short'n'to-the-point tunes, and plenty of snotty attitude. These cats were tons'o'fun and a well-done change of pace from a lot of the stagnant scene at the time.

Nothing original, but who really wants that?! Good disc!


Jeff Dahl - I was a Teenage Glam Fag (Volume 1)

Jeff Dahl has had a long and illustrious career in punk rock - from working with the Angry Samoans and Vox
Pop in the late 70's/early 80's to his own Jeff Dahl Band (where he played with luminaries such as Cheetah Chrome and Bruce Duff) to his solo outings - and he has consistently released high quality punk rock'n'roll. While living in Cake Creek, AZ., he built his own studio and was able to record as he pleased with Jenni Sex on bass and Anna Conda on drums (both who turned out to be Jeff himself). This is one of the projects he did, where he cut his own versions of 70's glam rock songs that he grew up with and loved. Apparently, there is a Volume 2, but I do not have it and seeing as this volume was a limited edition of 500, I'm probably out of luck (unless Jeff still has some - Jeff?!).

As he explains in his liner notes, none of these were meant to be note-for-note copies, these are his interpretations, done from memory and given the Dahl-treatment - stripped down punk rock with his own harmonies, some cool licks and some damn interesting changes added here'n'there. Some are very well known - "Caught in a Dream" (Alice Cooper - the band), "I Need Somebody" (Stooges), "Personality Crisis" (Dolls), "Ziggy Stardust" (Bowie), "One of the Boys" (Mott) - and some a bit more obscure - "Chez Maxine" (Hollywood Brats), "Living in the 70"s" (Skyhooks), "Glycerine Queen" (Suzi Quatro), "Candy's Going Bad" (Golden Earring), "Aggravation Non-Stop" (David Werner) and "Long Legged Lisa" (Silverhead). All are great though and while I knew most of these (I'm not that far off from Jeff's age so we have many of the same influences), there were a few that were fun discoveries.

While the packaging is pretty sparse, Dahl's liner notes are cool and informative and shows where he's coming from and proves his love for rock'n'roll (as if he needed to do that!). All of his work is worthwhile but definitely pick this one up if you can find it anywhere!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Firestarter

After the dissolution of Japan's fantastically fun Teengenerate (named after a Dictators song - how could they possibly be bad?), Fink, Fifi and Sammy combined forces with drummer Jimbo to create the power-pop (with the emphasis on power) Firestarter. There is tons of punk energy here - they even cover Eddie & the Hot Rods terrific "Do Anything You Wanna Do" - mixed with truly well written tunes, some fine singing and creative, melodic guitar lines. They kept the explosiveness of Teengenerate, but gave it some finesse, a little more structure and more tunefulness.

This debut album shows that they did their homework before going into the studio, as every song is strong and the playing is tight but rockin' and there is little more that you could ask for from a power-pop/punk album!

There are lots of later, similarly named bands, so don't be fulled by imitators! Don't know if this has been released on CD yet, but worth searching out! (PS - I have to admit that I was friends with these guys and they even wrote a song about me - that appeared on a single, not on this album - called "Rich's Eyes", so you determine if you think I'm prejudiced!)

recommended gigs

Thursday July 10 - The Lucky Cheats w/Rev. Horton Heat at Triple B

Friday July 11 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down with Water Landing, 3D6, Pete Stein and Karate in the Garage
Friday July 11 - Whiskey Breath at the Dillinger
Friday July 11 - the All Togethers at the Goldmine Tavern

Saturday July 12 - Fuzz Solow with Black Water Soul, Whiskey Southern Band, Low Volt and Steady Extras at the Dive Bar
Saturday July 12 - the Astaires at the Hard Rock Cafe with Jessica Hernandez

Tuesday July 15 - The All Togethers, Vegascendents, the Kountry Kitten Burlesque Show - at the Dive Bar

Wednesday July 16 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Griffin

Thursday July 17 - Bogtrotters Union at Velveteen Rabbit

Friday July 18 - the Psyatics at the Double Down
Friday July 18 - the Loud Pipes at the Triple B with Planes Mistaken for Stars, All Eyes West, Illicitor, Mercy Music and Fredward

Saturday July 19 - the Swamp Gospel at the Double Down

Wednesday July 23 - Crazy Chief at the Griffin

Saturday July 26 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Rock Cafe

Monday July 28 - the Pine Hill Haints with the All Togethers, Swank Bastards, Bombon, My First Rodeo and the Unwieldies at the Hard Hat Lounge

Tuesday July 29 - Beau Hodges Band at Brooklyn Bowl with Dusty Sunshine and Kalsey Kulyk

Wednesday July 30 - Thee Swank Bastards at the Double Down

Saturday August 2 - The Swamp Gospel at the Double Down with garage legends the Sloths

Thursday August 7 - the Boss Martians, Nu Waves and Surf Coasters at the Double Down

Friday August 8 - the Super Zeroes at the Double Down

Saturday August 9 - The Unweildies at the Dillinger

Thursday August 14 - the Sonics at the Hard Rock on Las Vegas

Friday August 15 - Deep Purple at Fremont Street Experience 3rd St Stage 9:00pm

Sunday August 17 - the Loud Pipes and Zig Zags at the Dive Bar

Friday August 29 - the Super Zeroes at the Hard Hat Lounge

Friday Sept 5 - Double Down Radio's 6th Anniversary Bash with Sheep On a Cliff, the Bitters, Fuzz Solow and the Pluralses

What have I forgotten? Lemme know!

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

I’m Your Man – The Life of Leonard Cohen – Sylvie Simmons

When I was a young child first learning guitar, a brother and sister of mine were very much into the folk scene of the time. Among the usual Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, John Denver, etc., one of the artists that they turned me on to was Leonard Cohen. His music was essentially Cohen and his acoustic guitar, but besides writing incredible melodies, his lyrics were full of poetry, humor, love, lust, darkness, suicide, longing and much more. His third album, Songs of Love and Hate, was so grim and depressing that he lost some fans (I remember my sister saying it was "obscene" - not due to language but due to the graphic depictions of depression and lost love), but it was my favorite for the same reasons. I actually stopped following him not long after that album and was essentially unaware of the level of his later fame, though I always returned to the first three albums when looking for powerful acoustic songs.

Simmons' biography is extremely well-researched and created with the blessing - although maybe not full participation - of her subject who cherishes his privacy. But, she was able to find many, many friends, confidants, lovers, musicians, family and more to tell the tale of his extraordinary life.

From his childhood in a well-to-do Jewish family in Canada through his rise to (some) fame as a poet (he had at least one documentary based on him before he moved to music) to his travels to his decades of work as a music and the acclaim that finally came his way, Sylvie takes us along and gives us many insights. 

For a shy boy, Leonard grew into quite the ladies' man - especially once he became a bit well-know. Many women came through his life – the legendary Suzanne and Marianne, Judy Collins, Nico, Joni Mitchell, Janis Joplin, actress Rebecca De Mornay – daughter of Wally George! - among many others – many of which he collaborated with and produced some of his best known works.

There were plenty of anecdotes that I never knew: Charlie Daniels was a session musician for Songs from a Room – and very astute about Cohen’s music and what was needed – and he even toured with the man and also played on Songs of Love & Hate. Leonard enjoyed drugs quite a bit in his youth and took "hundreds" of acid trips, especially on 1st European tour.Between playing a festival in France & the Isle of Wright, he played in a mental institution - long before the Cramps had the idea! - and continued to do so, believing that the mentally disturbed understood his work better than most. He didn't want to do the third album, the afore-mentioned Songs of Love & Hate – my favorite. In 73 he flew to Te Aviv to fight in the Yom Kippur War, partially in solidarity with his Jewish brethren and partially to get away from his life with Suzanne, their child and the demands of the record company - things that most men would love to have. He ended up being an entertainer rather than a soldier and glorified the war - rather at odds with most musicians who were pacifists at the time.

Simmons does a fine job covering his career - his recordings and tours and I learned much about his later work with keys and synthesizers and cheap Casio keyboards that became his most famous, including a collaboration with Phil Spector. 

As had happened to many others, he had a manager that he trusted implicitly and she ended up draining literally millions of dollars from him, causing him to be basically penniless in his 70’s, which caused him to decide to tour again – a tour that ended up lasting years (with breaks) and making him a millionaire yet again. Funnily enough, he was extremely hesitant about touring at all, thinking that no one remembered him, and yet he broke all kinds of records. Interesting how even someone of his stature can be insecure.

When she leaves him in 2012, he was 80 years old, working on a new album and looking forward to touring again. Here's hoping that he will continue for many more years - as did his 100+ year old Buddhist teacher!

Simmons' book is a treat for fans of his words and his music and just a plain interesting accounting of a life filled with much variety and an incredible amount of ups and downs. Very much recommended.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Link Protrudi and the Jaymen - Seduction

Rudi Protrudi always had side projects besides the Fuzztones and for the most part, they were all really fun and high quality. The Jaymen - originally a tribute to Link Wray, of course - was one of the best and this is my fave record from the combo.

With the help of ex-Fuzztone Jordan Tarlow on bass (and engineering - superb sound here) and Brian Keats on percussion, they tackle cool, instrumental takes on Arabic/belly-dancing/exotica tunes and create truly memorable numbers. Most of the songs are originals credited to all three men, though there are some covers, such as the traditional "Kumar", the surf classic "Misourlou", Sonny Lester's "Seduction of the Virgin Princess" and even Tschaikowsky's "Arabian Nights"!

While there is plenty of fuzz here, it is used with restraint, for effect and coloring, not for bombastic garage riffs. Keats' percussion really carries a lot of the numbers, and the added organ is particularly effective, while Tarlow's bass gives it all a driving bottom.

Due to the distinctive and interesting concept and performance, this is one of the better instrumental records in my collection. Seek it out!

The Purple Toads - Love Songs for the Hard of Hearing

The Toads' sophomore effort showed some growth in the sound and especially in the songwriting department. Same four cats, but the production is much improved and the originals are even better than before!

Opening with the fantastic "Wildtime", a 4/4 time head-bangin' party number, they are pretty relentless throughout the album. "All I Want" continues in the same vein before tacklin' the Pleasure Seekers' ode to alcohol "What a Way to Die". Based around a darker, metal-y riff, "Troubled Mind" still stomps and "You Gotta Believe Me" updates "You're Gonna Miss Me". Side one concludes with the 70's punk energy of "Love's All Gone".

The fuzz-riff-rockin' "Don't Understand Your Love" opens side two with more incessant drums and one of their catchier melodies. Showing that they haven't forgotten their garage roots, they pull out "Ain't No Friend of Mine" and this segues right into another hep riffer, "Love On Your Back". "Too Much of You" shows off some fine lead guitar work and they actually do one of my favorite versions of "Tobacco Road". The bubblegum geniuses Katz/Kasenetz provides the closer, "Everyvbody", which is given the Purple Toads' treatment for a upbeat r'n'r conclusion to the album.

Another blast of updated garage rock'n'roll that even came with a limited edition comic book! It's a shame that these LPs don't seem to have been reissued on CD, but search 'em out!

The Purple Toads

The 80's garage scene was one of the most exciting and diverse happenings of the decade, and it ended up taking place all over the globe. Of course, most people know the LA & NYC groups, but there were much more, including this smokin' combo from Canada. These weren't purist copiers, they weren't afraid to update the sound a bit with their two Gibson-guitar attack, giving some punk power to the hip, garage tunes - along the lines of what the Nomads were doing out in Sweden.

Brave enough to tackle the Easybeats' "Gonna Have a Good Time", they more than do it justice, keeping the wild abandon of the original (though no Steve Marriot on backing vocals, of course) and preserving this r'n'r classic. "Night of the Phantom" is interspersed with heavy lead licks and then guitarist Paul McNeil brings in one of his snotty originals, "You Got Money", a anti-major label riff-rocker that seques directly into "Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White", with similar punky attitude that the Zeros brought to it. The classic "Action Woman" is given the Toads' treatment with an especially wild ending. MacNeil returns with another anti-establishment power-chord pounder "Just Another Stupid Jerk" before rockin' out "You're Gonna Miss Me", done in the vein of DMZ/Lazy Cowgirls (and done before it became the world's most covered garage tune).

Side two of the vinyl on this debut record was a solid "Have Love Will Travel" and then second guitarist Rob Sweeney gives us the high-energy "Come Here". MacNeil's "Forty Pounder Blues" opens with "I need...more blood...in my...alcohol stream" - so you get the idea what that's about! Pulling one from Mouse and the Traps, they smash out "Lie, Beg, Borrow & Steal" (the rhythm section here - Roger Branton - bass and Mark Keigan - drums - and drivin' throughout the record) and then an especially catchy Sweeney original "Action Tonight". A properly ponderous "I Want You" precedes the finale of a wild'n'wooly "Nobody But Me" that is augmented with a super cool two-guitar duel.

Super fun garage-based Canook punk'n'roll! Well worth searching for!

Friday, July 04, 2014

The Pristeens - Scandal, Controversy and Romance

Yes, I went through the "P" section of my CDs and found a number of rockin' pop records that I
hadn't listened to in ages. The Pristeens were a NYC-based garage/punk/pop group led by three females (Tina Canellas and Leslie Day on guitars and vocals and bassist Lori Yorkman) and driven by ex-Devil Dogs drummer Joe Vincent, giving them a power-beat to layer their rock upon. Having producer Richard Gottehrer (Blondie/GoGos) sure didn't hurt, either!

Vincent shows how indispensable he was right from the start as he smashes'n'crashes through the garage rocker "The Hound", one of the wildest numbers on the record. They come off like a harder-rockin'/punkier Blondie on "I Don't Cry" with its superb vocals and harmonies as well as the 60's girl group stylings of "Run Back to You". They go back to the 60's for "Sorrow" and give it a different update than Bowie did on Pin Ups while maintaining its original coolness. The title track is a perfect blend of 60 girls groups and punk while "What's She Got" is a damn perfect garage riff-rocker and the finger-snappin' "I'm Devastated" could well be an updated Shangri-las number.

I've always dug early Wreckless Eric and this crew does a fine job on "(I'd Go The) Whole Wide World" and gives us more Shangri-la-isms (with a dose of Ramones) on "Beat You Up". High-speed antics appear in "Some Day" and then there's the slow-dance intensity of "Party Girl". Kind of a Runaways vibe to the bass'n'drum surf overtones of "Let Me Run Wild" before closing things out with the punk'n'roll bad-girl-garage of "Going Out Tonight"

I never heard anything from this combo after this (though I heard rumors that Vincent left, which would have taken the drive out of them, I'm sure) but this was a monster release. You should have this!

Psychotic Youth - Some Fun

These Swedish cats don't fool around when they construct their iconic pop tunes - right from the start on "Here We Go (Oh Yeah)" there's tons of guitars, a rockin' solo, a fake ending, "Twist and Shout" rising harmonies, key changes and an impossibly catchy chorus! Wow! The title track is a perfect mix of the Beach Boys and the Ramones for a summer classic followed by the antithesis, "Good Times Are Gone" and then a Stooges/DMZ hard rock number "Fun Gun Treatment" that still adds a super-melodic Ramones bridge! They just can't help but be memorable!

I know that punk-pop is now a dirty word, but back when PY were doing it (the late 80's), this blend of fast punk rock with impossibly melodic tunes was a rarity and to do it this well was almost unheard of. The high-speed "Won't See Me Crying", the cool keys added to "More Fun", the metal-ish "I Want it Now" (reminds of the later "You Had It Coming" from Manitoba's Wild Kingdom), the 60's on amphetamines of "Can't Close My Eyes", the love/lust song "Julie", more Stooges-isms in "Another Stupid Jerk" and showed how versatile they were in songwriting and performing while maintaining a pop sensibility.

The do a convincing country how-down in "Cindy I" before turning it into a full-speed punk raver in "Cindy II". "Go For It Baby" does a ridiculous amount in a mere two minutes before the Ramones-y "Then I Killed Her". It all closes down with the lead-licious heaviness of "It's Alright (In the USA)".

More fantastic pop mania with a rockin' beat from these Swedes. Haven't heard anything bad from PY - wonder what they're up to nowadays?

The Shame Idols - Rocket Cat

This record continues where I Got Time left off - lots of heavy guitars, highly melodic tunes, cool
melodies and damn good rock'n'roll songs!

The sound is very much like the previous record - reminding me of Flop at times - but with some growth showing and little extras, like the piano driving "Ubermensch" and the riff-laden "Endora" and "Neon Geyser", which also features keys prominently. In "Picture of a Clown" they use a Kinks-styled chord-riff with a quieter breakdown for the choruses. The guitars here truly are huge and the leads are nasty and noisy, but the songs have sweet, singalong melodies. Really good balance of everything.

For the title cut they bring out some nice changes and go for the gold with the vocal harmonies and the "lalalala" bridge. They continue the rockin' catchiness with the terrific "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang", "My Star" (with even more concentration on multi-part harmonies and an almost metallic lick), the punkier "Well Wisher" and "I Don't Trust You", the exquisite pop of "She's on the Phone" and "Mascot Lodge" (with some nice Beatles-esque textures) before ending with the power-pop anthem "If I Fell (In Love With You)".

All around super hip big-guitar-pop!